Weld Fume Management Guide: The Right Weld Fume Extractors for Robotic Welding
April 6, 2016
How to Control Robotic Weld Fumes
Fume and debris are unavoidable in any facility where welding takes place, but the occurrence grows exponentially when robotic welders are employed. For instance, in a standard 8-hour shift, a manual welder may be able to maintain an arc for 30% of the time whereas a robotic unit can increase productivity to 90%. With all the increased productivity comes increased fume and smoke.
This weld fume management guide, Finding the Right Weld Fume Extractor for Robotic Welding, will touch on a number of considerations to think about as facilities decide on the appropriate clean air technology for their robotic welding stations.
4 Weld Fume Extractor Considerations for Robotic Welding
Robotic welders require specific ventilation systems to maintain peak performance. While health hazards of weld fume are not as important to robots, they do still apply to the human operators who oversee them. Plus, weld fume can interfere with the quality of the otherwise uniform weld created by robotic systems.
Here are four considerations to keep in mind as you search for weld fume extraction equipment to pair with your robotic welding system.
Type of Robotic Welders
Two of the most common types of robot welders are rectilinear robots and articulating robots. Which type of robot you employ may affect the source capture technology you need and it will certainly dictate the size and layout of the weldment.
Rectilinear robots move in three axes to create a working zone that is box shaped and relatively uniform. Articulating robots have arms and rotating joints, much like a human, and therefore create an irregular shaped work zone that can change based on the piece being welded.
There are also dual-wire robot variations of the previous types of robots. These units double the fume and smoke created and up the productivity time of the unit. Both of these factors will necessitate a more powerful weld fume extractor.
Robots, in theory, do not need a break. Sometimes they need to be recalibrated, sure, but otherwise robots could work 24/7 until they eventually fail. If you plan to use your robotic welding units in this way, make sure to have fume extraction equipment that is similarly built to last.
The alternative is an under-matched ventilation system that will prevent an otherwise efficient robotic system from reaching its full potential – a frustrating experience to be sure. To help determine if a system will be powerful enough, consult a professional with knowledge of air-to-cloth ratios for filter media and access to an Airflow Calculator. This way, you will know ahead of installation how well your system will perform.
Capture System Design
Overhead hoods are the most common form of capture technology for robotic weldments. Like the name implies, overhead hoods are positioned overtop the weld area and are either ducted to a central system or into a self-contained cabinet positioned atop or near the unit.
Vent hoods must be large enough to capture all the fume and smoke created by the robotic welder and the dust collector has to be powerful enough to create the airflow necessary to draw contaminants into a hood so large. The Airflow Calculator mentioned above will go a long way in helping determine whether or not your fume extraction system will be powerful enough to do the job.
With the increased productivity of robotic welders comes an increased chance for sparks to be created – it is inevitable. As you can imagine, sparks and paper filters do not mix, so it is important to invest in a system with spark arrestance technology to ensure they never reach any of the flammable welding dust.
Controlling Weld Fumes with RoboVent
RoboVent are the leaders in clean air technology with decades of experience providing a variety of industrial ventilation solutions. More important, RoboVent is more than a supplier – they are a team of engineering professionals committed to delivering systems and products that improve the environment, process systems, and the health and safety of your workers.
RoboVent assumes total project responsibility for the systems it delivers meaning there is a single source of responsibility for you to rely on. While quality and construction and continued technological innovative are vital to the service RoboVent provides, it is the personalized customer care that sets our solutions apart.